AUTOCAT Netiquette 2010

What is appropriate Netiquette for Autocat?

The general answer to that question is to use your common sense and the general rules you would use in any correspondence.

Autocat has a very limited review policy. All list subscribers will have [only] their *initial* posting reviewed. For example, let us say that Jane Smith is a list subscriber who elects to post a message (or a response to a message). Our approach is that we will expect under normal conditions to review only her very first posting/reply. If it appears to follow good list etiquette, we will approve the posting and then *remove* Ms. Smith from 'review' status, which means that all of her future postings will go directly to the list, without our intervention. If her posting presents issues that we believe are not in harmony with AUTOCAT etiquette (as follows in this document), we will work with her to resolve the problem(s) and leave her on 'review' status until such time as we conclude that her postings adhere to list practice.

We are far less likely to dispute matters of formatting than we are matters of professional courtesy, vacation auto-replies, spam, chain-letters, etc. While the rules of AUTOCAT etiquette may evolve and change over time, for now we plan to stick with the long-settled policies as folow. Some specific points:

  1. When replying to a message provide ONLY A BRIEF context to your answer. AVOID THE EXTREMES of quoting the entire message or saying nothing about the original message. Also, see quoting and copyright.

  2. Provide a SPECIFIC subject line for your message, e.g., not HELP! but rather: Help with LCC Classification; not JOB POSTING but Job posting: Digital resources cataloger, Oregon.

  3. Include your signature at the end of your message, giving at least your name and affiliation and e-mail address. We get frequent requests to remind subscribers to list where they are writing from (affiliation and even place)

  4. Be sure to use the appropriate address. Be careful not to send a message to Autocat when you intended to reply only to the individual who posted a message, or a command intended for LISTSERV to Autocat. As a corollary, when replying to a survey, send it to the original poster, not to Autocat.

  5. Do not post anything you would not be willing to see on the front page of your local newspaper.

  6. Do NOT include attachments of any kind in messages: uuencode, HTML, etc. TURN OFF HTML when using a web browser or one of the MS products for email.

  7. Do not forward messages about viruses to AUTOCAT. Your intention would be good but the chances are that you would be disseminating a hoax. Instead, send the message to one of the listowners and let them evaluate the so-called virus.

  8. Do NOT use a mailer option that automatically generates an acknowledgment of receipt message to be sent to the poster of every mail message that you receive. If your system provides it, disable it.

  9. Before you turn on one of the so-called "vacation" packages (i.e., software that generates an "I am out of the office" response to all mail messages that you receive) SET YOUR SUBSCRIPTION TO AUTOCAT to NOMAIL. If you fail to do so one of the listowners is likely to do so for you.

  10. Be careful of your spelling and grammar. Your message is going out to some 5,500 people, some of whom may be your future employers!

  11. Do not use all upper case letters for your message. That is the e-mail equivalent of shouting.

  12. Stay within the scope of Autocat as delineated in The Scope and Purpose of AUTOCAT. Messages related to other aspects of librarianship or otherwise unrelated to cataloging should be avoided or posted very rarely. Such messages should likely be introduced by the word CHAT: in the subject line. Humorous or otherwise light or peripheral messages have, by custom, been posted on Fridays.

  13. Do not make personal attacks on others. Remember, Autocat is meant to be a useful resource for catalogers of all experience levels, so beginner's questions are aa essential to our list's health as our those that are extremely esoteric. Diversity is the name of the game!

  14. Some types of messages are utterly forbidden, regardless of day or week or introductory word. Examples of forbidden messages are chain letters, pyramid schemes, offers of sexual services, etc.

Last revised March 2, 2010

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